By Alan Dymock
WE ARE so used to hearing rumours about rugby league stars switching allegiances, hopping codes like lusty bullfrogs fleeing a pad for something better, but it is rare we hear of players going the other way.
Yet yesterday it came out that Challenge Cup champions and Grand Final hopefuls Wigan Warriors were looking to scout rugby union talent with the intention of enticing some players over to the 13-man code.
Talking to Love Rugby League, coach Shaun Wane admitted that having recently coaxed Andy Powell to Wigan from Sale Sharks and he would not hesitate to go to the well again for exciting union stars.
“We’ve got a good foothold in rugby union in Wales, and now we’re looking further afield, to make sure that we don’t miss any gems,” he said.
“I like to think outside the box too. I look at South African rugby union, I look at Fiji rugby union, and I look at rugby union youngsters coming through the system. We’re trying to find the next big name.
“I don’t stick to rugby league circles. Welsh rugby union is a real possibility. The market there has some great talent, with some big guys, and they’re all tough.”
The revelation comes hot on the heels of a denial by Bath Rugby coach Mike Ford that winger Tom Biggs was considering a switch to his boyhood local club, Hull FC.
“I have spoken to Tom and the rumours are not true,” Ford assured BBC Radio Bristol, before reaffirming that Biggs would stay in the south west.
“He has a massive role to play this season. He’ll be involved this weekend against Leicester and is very much in our plans. We want to keep him and that’s all I can say on the matter.”
Ford may be right, but there may be more than two clubs sniffing about players in the Aviva Premiership, RaboDirect Pro12 and beyond. According to Wane, Wigan may even consider a sevens star if they can find one who defends in a way he approves of.